This issue we share some clever steps to keep you on track with your health goals for the year. We also highlight our exciting upcoming cookshop on smart foods that will help drop your cholesterol and sugar naturally. You’ll find some compelling reasons to plunge into pomegranates now coming into season in Australia and our special on sprouts will give you something to shout about.
Top 10 Tips to Help you Stay on Track this Year
Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, get healthy, exercise regularly or manage your health condition? Did you start the year on a high note, only to find your motivation is now flagging?
You’re not alone. It can be tough to stay on track 24/7 with your healthy lifestyle goals and eating habits. If you are struggling, here are our top 10 tips to help you cruise ahead again:
1. Set SMART Goals. Was your New Year’s goal a smart goal? Goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely – are more likely to be accomplished. Checking off each goal using these criteria will help you track your progress better and allow you to know if you have achieved your goal. Remember, it’s better to set a smaller, realistic goal than one that is out of your immediate reach as this could set you up to feel like a failure, which is not a good way to start the year!
2. Set short-term goals. Once you have decided on your overall health goal, it’s best to identify specific strategies to help you achieve your goal. For example, if you would like to lose 6 kg in 3 months, walking daily could help you reach your goal. However, this could be a daunting task to begin with. So, start small and set a short-term SMART goal, for example, aim to walk twice a week for the first week then three times the week after. Tasting some success, no matter how small it may be, will help you feel more confident in your ability to achieve your overall goal and motivate you to continue.
3. Write down a list of reasons why you want to achieve your goals. It is very easy to stray from our goals and get lazy over time. So it’s important to spell out your personal reasons for making changes and to be clear about what you stand to gain. You can focus on the long-term health benefits, such as avoiding the complications of diabetes, or something shorter term like having more energy within the next month. Jot down your thoughts using a pen and paper to formalise it or add it into your notes app on your phone to keep it on hand and readily accessible.
4. Monitor your performance. Keep a food and/or activity diary, or have a calendar where you can check off your goals. This can be a rewarding and motivating way to check on your progress and see how far you’ve come. Additionally, it is easier to stick to your health goals if you can see some benefits as you go. Record your feelings in your diary as well as anything that seems to be improving. For instance, are your jeans looser? Was it easier to walk up the stairs today? Taking time to acknowledge improvements to your daily quality of life will greatly enhance your motivation to go on.
5. Go public with your intentions. Once you have decided on your health goal, tell the people around you what your plans are and why. By telling family and friends of your intentions you are giving yourself greater resolve. Your friends and family will be interested in your progress and they can be of great support and encouragement in your journey towards better health.
6. Have a buddy. Ask a friend, family member or co-worker to join you on your health journey. It can be tough trying to change lifestyle behaviours on your own. If you have a buddy to eat, exercise and share stories and recipes with, it can be much more fun and motivating. For one thing, you won’t want to let your buddy down plus it has been shown to improve long-term compliance. A bit of competition always has a way of making you work harder too!
7. Be prepared for setbacks. Motivation can waiver at times in everybody. We all have good and bad days. Therefore, before you even start, accept that there will be momentary setbacks. Be ready for these setbacks and think about strategies you can put into place to overcome any hurdles. Remember, one ‘bad’ weekend is no reason to give up entirely on your health goal! Nobody is perfect. Instead of punishing yourself, just start again the next day and in the long term you will still achieve your goal, maybe just a little slower. Think of any setback as a learning opportunity and be ready with strategies you can put into place next time that same hurdle arises.
8. Surround yourself with success. Stories of success can be a great motivational tool. Hearing or reading that someone else experienced similar problems and pushed through can help to lift you up during your own hard times. Interact with others who have already succeeded with their similar health goals, so that they can motivate you and provide tips to help you achieve success. Choosing healthy friends can be a bonus, as we tend to model those around us who we admire.
9. Reward yourself. Choose non-food related rewards such as new clothes, a facial, massage or new tools for the garage. Acknowledging your success and the results of your dedication and hard work can be a great motivational tool and will help you to focus on your achievements rather than your short-term struggles.
10. Continue your education. Through continued education on health, nutrition and fitness, you will stay inspired to improve your lifestyle, whether it’s to keep that cholesterol down and escape the need for medication or to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence.
Try using some or all of these helpful tips in 2014 to keep yourself focussed!
Remember, however, making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of a degenerative condition or better manage an existing health concern is not just about losing weight. Studies have repeatedly found that regardless of whether or not you lose weight, your health indicators can be significantly improved by enhancing the way you eat and moving more as a natural part of your day. Health indicators such as blood lipids, insulin sensitivity, blood sugar levels and blood pressure are better determinants for longevity than just weight loss on your scales.
For more ideas on how to stay motivated this year, or if you are struggling and need a motivational boost, check in with your dietitian. You take your car for a regular service – even when it’s running well – so why not have a regular tune up for your diet also each year to help keep your motor running well all the time?
“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” - H.G. Wells
What’s Cooking? Smart Foods to Drop Your Cholesterol & Control Sugar Cravings – Naturally!
Do you want to avoid taking medication to treat your cholesterol or blood sugar? Would you like to prevent a rise in your dose and additional life-long prescriptions? Maybe your doctor could lower your dosage if your levels showed signs of improvement. You can make this happen. But you will need to make some delicious meal swaps. We can show you how easy this is.
Join us for this popular cookshop with our dietitian Caroline Trickey to see how you can use food ingredients as medicine to drop your blood sugar and cholesterol naturally – without any nasty side effects! You will experience only good results, such as body fat loss, improved regularity and more energy!
Taste delicious dishes throughout the evening from entrée through to dessert!
Take home recipes and nutrition handouts.
When: Tuesday 8th April 2014, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
If you have diabetes, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, a family history of heart attack or stroke, or you are simply trying to lose weight, this cookshop is for you!
Learn more about our cookshops
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. Bring your partner for a date night!
What’s Fresh? – Promising Pomegranates
The pomegranate has been considered a fruit of power and prosperity for millennia. It is believed to have originated in Iran and has been cultivated throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean regions since ancient times. Persians believe Eve ate a pomegranate (not an apple) in the Garden of Eden. And Egyptians buried their dead with pomegranates, as they believed this special fruit opened the doors to eternal life. Greeks open a pomegranate at a wedding feast in the hope of a promising future and the Chinese believe its seeds bring good luck and fertility.
Have you tried a pomegranate?
The pomegranate conceals its beauty behind a thick watermelon-red skin; once you break it open you’ll find many small, sweet pink-red jewels encased in a fibrous white membrane. These special jewels make any salad or dessert sparkle with brilliant colour and flavour. In terms of taste, the pomegranate provides a sweet but slightly acidic flavour – somewhat similar to cranberries but without the extreme tartiness.
The jewels of the pomegranate promise good health, especially for the heart. They are packed with antioxidants (including Vitamin C), which help to stop LDL cholesterol (the bad one) from oxidising and causing hardening of your arteries. Pomegranate also acts like an aspirin: it promotes good blood circulation and stops red blood cells from clumping together and forming dangerous clots. It can enhance the delivery of oxygen to different cells and organs in your body and may assist with reducing blood pressure and even erectile dysfunction!
But it is important to note that pomegranate may interfere with some medications (in a similar way as does grapefruit and some other foods), so please consult your doctor if you’re unsure.
The pomegranate is seasonal in Sydney from March to May and is available in most supermarkets and grocery stores. When choosing your fruit, ensure its skin is firm and without blemishes. It can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature. However, once the fruit is cut open, refrigerate the seeds in a sealed container.
How do you open a pomegranate? Cut it in half and then brake into smaller sections using your hands dipped into a large bowl full of water. Separating the seeds is easy this way as they just sink to the bottom and the white membrane pulp floats to the surface. Freezing the fruit can also make it even easier to remove the seeds. Or, alternatively, you can cut the fruit in half and score the exterior skin 4-6 times, hold the fruit over a bowl and hit the rind with a spoon, allowing the seeds to fall out. But from a kitchen cleanliness point of view, we prefer the underwater method!
5 ways to enjoy pomegranate:
- De-seed and take to work to enjoy jewels on their own as a snack on your desk
- Add to a fresh fruit or colourful vegetable salad
- Use as a topping to a vanilla chia seed pudding (ask your dietitian for our super recipe!)
- Layer with muesli and low-fat Greek yoghurt
- Squeeze your own pomegranate juice
Food Matters with Sue Radd – New Year Pantry Makeover
Did you resolve to lose weight and get healthy this year? Is progress slower than your liking? Maybe it’s time to make some easy cupboard swaps. They’re not as hard as you might think. Read Sue Radd’s column.
Virtual Supermarket Tour – Understand Food Labels Better to Lose More Weight & Improve Your Health
In case you missed it last time, there’s still time to book into our fun supermarket tour with our dietitian Marike Joubert.
Do you spend hours ogling products on shelves not quite knowing which to choose? Or do you fly by, having given up trying to understand the multiple claims, logos and nutrition panels vying for your attention? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, this event is for you!
To fully take control of your health, you need an insider view of how supermarkets and product marketers work to compete for a share of what goes into your stomach.
It takes a lot more than just a quick comparison of figures to pick out the best food products for your wellbeing. You also need independent benchmarks, which we can provide.
Join us for a virtual supermarket tour, get coached on how to read the fine print and gain the confidence you need to shop well for your family.
What people who attended previous events said:
“Loved it. Learned heaps. Can’t wait to go shopping!”
“The "Best Brands" section answered a lot of questions I've wanted answers to.”
“Thank you for opening my eyes a little wider.”
When: Wednesday, 19th March, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Call today on (02) 9899 5208 to book and take charge of your health!
Food InFocus – Is there a Risk of Taking Calcium Supplements?
To supplement or not to supplement with calcium for your bones? That is the question. You may be surprised by the answer. Watch this TV episode where Sue Radd discusses the latest scientific thinking.
Kitchen Tip – How to Grow & Use Sprouts!
It you’re looking at ‘amping up’ your health, be sure to include spunky sprouts in your diet.
Sprouts are ‘living foods’ that are super rich in phytonutrients such as antioxidants, enzymes and low in calories (or kilojoules). They form an integral part of ‘living food diets’ practised by certain raw foodists who emphasise sprouts and fermented plant foods.
Sprouting grains, seeds or legumes can make nutrients more available to your body. Sprouting reduces the amount of phytic acid present in the food, which tends to bind to essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc, reducing their absorption into the body.
The sprouting process can increase the vitamin and mineral content of grains, seeds or legumes by 2-3 times. And in some cases, up to 5-10 times!
Researchers are currently studying the health benefits of including sprouted foods in human diets. In one small study from Japan, eating sprouted brown rice three times per day, compared to eating white rice three times daily, improved fasting blood glucose, fructosamine, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with pre-diabetes.
When sprouting, first rinse the grain, seed or legume of choice and discard any stones or foreign matter. Then soak in cool water for 4-12 hours, depending on the food of choice. For example, chickpeas require around 12 hours of soaking, whereas buckwheat, amaranth or quinoa, require only 4 hours. While soaking, it’s a good idea to rinse and change the water every couple of hours, if practical.
After soaking, place hydrated seeds on a sprouting tray or in a jar. But remember to keep the grains, seeds or legumes damp at all times. One way to do this, is to transfer them into a large sieve and rinse under tap water a couple of times during the day. Or, just hang them in a legging of clean panty hose or a sprout bag and keep them damp by rinsing through with water a couple of times each day.
Note: while it’s important to keep your grains, seeds or legumes damp, they should not be wet to avoid mould or spoilage. Seeds can take a couple of hours, whereas other grains or legumes can take between 1-5 days to sprout!
If you want to become a successful sprouter, remember to check the quality of your grains, seeds or legumes. If they’re old or irradiated they may not sprout as well or at all. It’s also important to keep your sprouts out of direct sunlight, as this may encourage leaves to grow.
Does all this sound too complicated, or do you lack the time? Then just buy your sprouts ready to use in small tubs from your greengrocer or supermarket. Easy! These days there are many interesting combinations of legume sprouts, such as mung beans, lentils and peas (blue and chick) that come in a 200 g pack. For more exotic sprouts you may have to seek out a farmers market where you can pick up sprouted amaranth, wheat, buckwheat, sesame seeds, almonds, soybeans and fenugreek! Just give them a rinse before eating.
We love sprouts because they are a great addition to any salad or stir-fry and have a remarkable nutrient profile. They can also be used as a healthy sandwich or wrap filler, or mixed with tuna or four-bean mix and enjoyed as part of a snack.
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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2014.
Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.nwbc.com.au
We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.
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